After the wonderful feeling I got from my last binge read of a comic series, I hunted for another one to indulge in. I guess I've been in a BOOM! Studios type of mood because, this time, I stumbled upon Wild's End, written by Dan Abnett, with art by I.N.J. Culbard. If you've ever come across the comics before you were probably initially drawn to the classic fairytale-esque art style. I know I was.
However, it didn't take long for me to realize there was something very original inside these pages. Don't let the personified animals or the quaint rural 1930s community fool you. This is an intense story about a town that falls victim to an alien invasion.
I will admit, the first issue starts out a little slow with some necessary focus on the normal happenings around town, the calm before the storm, if you will. We get introduced to a decent number of characters, such as: the alcoholic fox, Fawkesie, the rabbit mayor, Gilbert, his friend and journalist, Peter, and the former navy Great Dane, Clive. I enjoyed the way Abnett set up the story, because the town they live in gives you a warm, comforting feeling, and the fact that the feeling is short lived creates a real sense of panic for the reader.
One minute you're in a peaceful setting with a bunch of townspeople chatting about a cake contest, and the next you're frustrated because the drunk Fawkesie barges in and ruins everyone's day. He basically announces that his friend, Bodie has been killed by the shooting star. Now, that panic feeling that I just mentioned…that lasts pretty much for the majority of the issues. This is a panic-ridden tale!
Despite the town thinking that Fawkesie is drunk and rambling, Clive, Gilbert, Peter, and Alph, a young pig whose Aunt falls victim to an attack, set out to find out more about these aliens. By the way, these aren't your typical aliens, with big heads and lanky arms. There's a reason Wild's End has been described as War of the Worlds meets Mouseguard. The aliens are these robotic things with lights for heads. Super creepy and very reminiscent of War of the Worlds.
After reading the first five issues, I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. When I think about the characters, I'm happy. Even though we don't get to know too much about each of them individually, their personalities shine in the reactions and behavior they have throughout the story. My favorite character is Susan Peardew, the nervous cat who is a writer that has lived in the woods for years. She joins the team in issue two and that made a huge difference for me as a reader, probably because I'm an anxiety-ridden writer as well. Her inability to interact with other characters because of how long she's been alone is amusing.
At times I felt like the plot was getting repetitive, continually falling into the same pattern of "an alien killed someone, now we have to move faster." I guess I wish that there were a few more side stories going on. There are hints of things throughout, but nothing is further explained. I don't want to come off too negative, because I mostly feel positive about the type of story that this is. One really fun thing that the creative team includes is that after the end of each issue, they include a little piece about something that the characters mention in the story. For example, at one point Susan Peardew mentions that she's writing about what's going on in the town in her journal in case someone ever finds it and reads it. Well at the end of that issue, you can read what she writes. I thought that was a really clever touch.
I am attached to these characters, and I very much enjoy Culbard's distinctive style of illustrating them. However, I'm very curious about how Abnett is going to wrap things up in issue six. As far as I know, this is a six part series, but I honestly hope that it turns out to be more. I think these characters have more of a story to tell no matter how things end up. Well, I shouldn't say that I guess, considering we don't know who's going to win. What do you guys think? Are you predicting a happy ending for this unique cast of characters, or will the aliens win? I guess we will just have to wait for the next issue to see.
Christine Marie is a Staff Writer at Bleeding Cool, and bibliomaniac with a love for all things creative. She hopes to one day be a Superhero/Disney Princess/Novelist. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @AWritersWay or on her blog writerchristinemarie.wordpress.com.